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The Lawfulness and Duty of Separation from Corrupt Ministers and Churches
Explained and Vindicated
Rev. James Fraser of Brae
(Minister of the Gospel at Culross)
Against the Sinful Compliances of his Day; and now published Against the Sinful Compliances of Ours. Printed from his own original manuscript.
"But when diverse were hardened, and believed not, but spoke evil of that Way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples." Acts 19:9
HAIL & FIRE REPRINTS 2009
PREFACE TO THE READER
The Reverend Mr. James Fraser, the Author of the ensuing Treatise, was famous and remarkable in his Days; and his other Writings, particularly his Memoirs, published anno 1738, continue to speak out what he was: Wherefore it does not seem needful to insist upon his Character here.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PREFACE TO THE READER ... iii
CHAPTER I Wherein some things are premised touching the Occasion of this Treatise, and stating of the Question ... 1.
Section 1: The Occasion of this Treatise ... 1.
Section 2: The Case State, and Terms explained ... 4.
Section 3: Some preliminary Positions and Concessions ... 12.
CHAPTER II Some Questions cleared ... 14.
Section 1: Whether the Prelates be Presbyters? ... 14.
Section 2: Whether all the Conformists Office doth flow from the Prelate, and as such, or not? ... 21.
Section 3: Whether the Conformists are lawful and real Ministers, or not? ... 45.
Section 4: Whether the Conformists Preaching be not a Sin? ... 65.
Section 5: When is Communion in Worship lawful, and when not? ... 73.
Section 6: Whether may we withdraw from any in private Conversation, and yet cannot withdraw from them while in the Exercise of their Offices? ... 77.
CHAPTER III Containing Arguments against hearing the Conformists. ... 86.
Section 1: Wherein the first Argument from 2 Corinthians 6:14, etc. is handled ... 86.
Section 2: Wherein a second Argument against bearing the Conformists, from John 10:1-14 is prosecuted ... 100.
Section 3: Wherein a third Argument is handled, drawn from the Conformists Want of a Commission, as it is Jeremiah 23:21, John 13:20, Romans 10:15, Hebrews 5:4 ... 110.
Section 4: Wherein a fourth Argument is handled, showing that we cannot hear the Conformists in Faith, Jeremiah 23:32, Matthew 15:9 ... 120.
Section 5: Wherein a fifth Argument is handled, from Isaiah 1:2-15 and 66:34, Ezekiel 20:39; because of the Sinfulness of the Curates Preaching ... 123.
Section 6: Wherein a sixth Argument is handled, drawn from the sad Consequences of hearing the Conformists ... 129.
Section 7: Wherein a seventh Argument is handled, drawn from some providential Considerations ... 137.
Section 8: Wherein other Arguments, before hinted at, are briefly laid down and confirmed ... 148.
Section 9: Wherein an Argument, taken from the Solemn League and Covenant, is handled ... 154.
CHAPTER IV Wherein various Arguments, advanced by the Curates and their Abettors, in favors of hearing them, are considered and answered ... 166.
Section 1: Wherein the Conformists Argument for hearing, drawn from Matthew 23:1-3 is refuted ... 166.
Section 2: Wherein the Argument, from Philipians 1:15-18 is examined and refuted ... 181.
Section 3: Wherein the Argument taken from 1 Samuel 2:12, etc. is considered and answered ... 185.
Section 4: Wherein the Argument drawn from Matthew 8:4 is examined ... 186.
Section 5: Wherein another Argument taken from the constant Communion that was kept with the Jewish Church, notwithstanding all her Pollutions and Defections, is examined ... 189.
Section 6: Wherein an Argument drawn from the Practice of Christian Churches, is examined ... 194.
Section 7: Wherein an Argument drawn from the Evil of Separation, the Practice of Separatists and Brownists, and the Doctrine of Protestant Sound Writers, is examined ... 196.
Section 8: Wherein an Argument drawn from the Contempt of Ordinances, is considered and answered ... 204.
Section 9: Wherein an Argument drawn from the Practice of our Predecessors, is answered ... 207.
Section 10: Wherein an Argument, drawn from the Danger of needless Suffering, is answered ... 208.
Section 11: Wherein the rest of the Arguments are considered and answered, with the Conclusion of the Whole ... 210.
This Book is faithfully printed from a Manuscript, which is known and has been attested to be Mr. Fraser's handwriting. And, in regard the Ministers of the Associate Presbytery are now exposed to almost everybody's ill nature and jealousy, so that such as shall not relish this Performance, and yet care not for attacking the Author, may possibly charge some of them with vitiating the same; the Publisher, therefore, thinks it not improper to signify, that none of them are concerned in the Publication thereof, nor in the least accountable for any Sentence of it.
The Author's Manuscript is intitled, "An Enquiry into that so much debated Case, viz. Whether it be the Duty of the Lord's People in Britain and Ireland, to hear such as have submitted to the Prelatical Government, or to join with them while in the Exercise of such Acts as do belong to their pastoral Office." But as the Argument, therein managed, is, in itself, evidently of a larger Extent than the particular Case of Prelacy; therefore the Publisher has used the Freedom to prefix the general Title which it now bears.
Though this Treatise is particularly levelled against Compliance with Prelacy, and Communion with Prelaticks, yet the Publication thereof, at this Time, is reckoned highly suitable unto our present Situation and Controversy in Scotland: For as the fond Reception, which Mr. George Whitefield, a Priest of the Church of England, and his latitudinarian Scheme, have met with, do plainly call us to arms against an Invasion of Prelacy; so the Arguments here pled are plainly applicable unto, and of equal Force against the sinful Compliances of our Day, with the Defections of the established Church of Scotland, and Communion with the Judicatories thereof, with whom Communion is now impracticable, without Involvement in that Current of Apostacy wherewith they are all carried down.
Mr. Currie is the most barefaced and busy Advocate that has appeared in Defence of Communion with the established Church; and he hath collected the most of what has been, or, I suppose, can be advanced upon that desperate Cause. The ensuing Treatise contains a very suitable Reply to him, in regard the Arguments which were used by the Prelaticks, against Secession from them, and which are here sufficiently refuted, are generally the same with what Mr. Currie uses against Secession from the estalished Church; and the Answers here given unto Prelaticks, are as valid against him in the Cause he manages. ...
NON-CONFORMIST RECOMMENDED READING:
Vindication of the Protestant Doctrine of Justification by Robert Traill
"The party here suspected of Antinomianism, do confidently protest ... That they espouse no new doctrine about the grace of God and justification, and the other coincident points, but what the reformers at home and abroad did teach, and all the Protestant churches do own. And that in sum is: 'That a law-condemned sinner is freely justified by God's grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ; that he is justified only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to him by God of his free grace, and received by faith alone as an instrument; which faith is the gift of the same grace.' For guarding against licentiousness, they constantly teach, out of God's word, 'That without holiness no man can see God: That all that believe truly on Jesus Christ, as they are justified by the sprinkling of his blood, so are they sanctified by the effusion of his Spirit: that all that boast of their faith in Christ, and yet live after their own lusts, and the course of this world, have no true faith at all; but do, in their profession ..."
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